Sketching

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I’m still working in my little sketchbook everyday, following along with the Year of Creative Habits. I’m not as diligent as I’d like to be but my excuse, and I do have one, is that we are still getting settled in our new home. One of the fun things about unpacking boxes are the treasures that you find. I have found a few of my old sketchbooks. What I love is that when I first started printmaking my sketches were really detailed, with notes telling me which sketch belonged to which layer, the techniques to be used and so on. I’ve not worked like that for awhile and it makes me feel like I’ve lost something.  I need to get it back.

Trying something new and a little printmaking

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This week I went to the Dick Blick location in Venice Beach. it’s a really nice store with the usual assortment of art supplies that I simply can’t live without.

DSCN2571Surprisingly I managed to walk away with only one item, a clear carving block for printmaking. The Richeson Clear Carve Linoleum professes to carve like butter and because it is clear you can simply place it over the picture you are carving.

To be honest, I found it the same difficulty to carve as regular linoleum which is to say, it does take effort to move through and you have to be careful turning the block as you carve to ensure you are always carving away from yourself.  As for simply placing it over the picture you are carving, the depth of the block makes it difficult to ensure that you are always following the lines. You have to tape the block to the paper you are working on to ensure that it stays in place. I really think that if you are looking for something that really does carve like butter, you are much better off sticking with speedy carve blocks in pink or white.

DSCN2572Since I was set on carving the beetle I decided to get out a woodblock and my woodcarving tools. I won’t be able to print this until we are finally settled in our new house, but it is always fun to have a block to carve. The shina plywood I use carves as easily as the clear carve, although I think it might be time to think about having my tools sharpened.

If you have any questions about printmaking in general, or the products I use in particular, please ask them in the comments! I’m happy to help and if I can’t help you I have a few friends I can ask.

El Segundo Museum of Art

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Last Sunday we unexpectedly came upon an open house at the El Segundo Museum of Art, parking right in front. The open house was in celebration of the current show, “Scratch”, which is all about graffiti and the artists creating it.

From the web site, here is a description of the show:

 

In 2013 more than 150 of LA’s leading graffiti artists responded to a 16th century manuscript from the vaults of the Getty Research Institute called a liber amicorum (book of friends) by contributing works on paper to be bound into a single book and created the Getty Graffiti Black Book. Street artists have used black books for decades to create a visual memory of drafts and to serve as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas. The extraordinary competition that occasionally arises among such artists can also lead to respect as rivals invite each other to “hit” their black books with original works. The contributing artists decided to give the Getty Black Book the title, LA Liber Amicorum, to capture the spirit of its transformation of rival ‘writing-crews’ into a Los Angeles Book of Friends.

Now, ESMoA and the Getty Research Institute have invited Getty Black Book artists Axis, Cre8, Defer, Eyeone, Fishe, and Miner to co-curate those crews of creative friends from the LA graffiti art community and turn the art laboratory of ESMoA into an open black book. Graffiti and tattoo artists will transform the space into a cathedral of urban art for the first presentation of the LA Liber Amicorum to the public with SCRATCH.

 

The show is absolutely fantastic, playing off the vaulted ceilings, making you feel like you have walked into a church cathedral, albeit, covered in graffiti. I’m excited to know that such contemporary art is going to be featured at our soon to be local museum.

 

Another project

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This isn’t quite as easy as embroidery, if you’ve been following along on my summer projects. However, if you have ever wanted to try weaving, this is a great introduction. I brought with me in my little travelling art box two little hand looms, called “Weave-it” looms.  This is another project that is small enough to travel with you on summer days, even if just to the park or your deck.

My looms are vintage bakelight, you can find them in great shape on eBay, under different names such as Weave-it or Loomette. You can also purchase them new through Purl Soho right here. Or you can buy new wooden looms in a couple of sizes here. Don’t you love the shadows in this photo?!

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I didn’t bring along instructions for threading the loom, but the internet was kind and I found instructions here. It took me a couple of tries before I got the rhythm of winding the yarn on the loom before you start the weaving.  I actually found it easier to follow the written instructions rather than the diagrams but I’ll leave that to you. If you buy a used loom try to buy one with the instruction sheet, it will make things so much easier.

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A great site for inspiration is eLoomaNation. You’ll get a good idea what various yarns look like when woven. I think I have enough yarn to make a scarf after I stitch all the pieces together.

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Back to my sketchbook

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Finally, back to my sketchbook for my 15-minutes (-ish) of creativity a day. From January through May I diligently worked in my sketchbook for at least 15-minutes but some days it was as long as an hour. I’ve missed doing it so I’m glad to get back into it.

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I started by taking quick photos of a couple of things to sketch, a palm tree and some grasses. You don’t have to have something to sketch, you can just wing it, do something abstract (triangles and seed pods are a favorite of mine). The point is not the product, but the process.

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For those of you just joining in, I am following along with Crystal Moody’s Year of Creative Habits.  Crystal is amazing in her discipline to the project and I love her work.  You can also follow her on tumblr, twitter and Instagram.